Lao Skyway offers six flights a week (Monday-Saturday) to Xam Neua, departing between 09:00 and 09:30, and arriving about an hour later. Check their latest timetable.
Three local busses leave from Vientiane Capital’s Northern Bus Terminal at 07:00, 09:30, and 12:00 for LAK170,000. A sleeper bus departs at 14:00 for LAK210,000, and a VIP coach leaves at 17:00 for LAK190,000. The trip takes between 18-22 hours. From Luang Prabang, an express bus leaves at 08:30 for LAK120,000 for the 15-hour drive.
Busses depart from other provinces, including Xieng Khouang (approx. 6 hours). Check departure times at the respective terminals. Vans are also available, and can be booked through travel agents.
You can also reach Houaphanh on busses from Hanoi from the Thanh Hoa Bus Terminal to Xam Neua The bus stops at the Na Meo-Nam Soi border checkpoint. The adventurous can combine various modes of transport to reach the border from northern Vietnam cities and towns. At the border, you can catch a sawng taew (Pickup trucks with benches) to Xam Neua between 10:00–11:30 for about LAK25,000. Outside of these hours, Lao immigration officers can arrange a sawng taew or motorcycle taxi to Vieng Xay or Xam Neua.
Note: Prices are subject to change. Please check before planning your departure.